Habs preseason gets going tonight
There was a certain excitement in the air at this morning’s practice as veterans and rookies alike geared up to face the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m.
The other side: Despite playing in 10 NHL campaigns with four different teams, it’s a safe bet to assume Jeff Halpern probably hasn’t experienced anything like stepping out onto the Bell Centre ice as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. In the hours leading up to Wednesday's preseason game, Halpern’s focus will be to make the best possible impression on the home crowd in Montreal.
“Right now I just want to get out there and get past those first few shifts,” said Halpern when asked if nerves would be a factor. “The first game or two are always a process to make sure we get all systems running smoothly, but I’m really looking forward to it. You hear a lot about what it’s like to play for Montreal, and I can’t wait to experience it as not just a visitor, but as one of the Canadiens instead.”
Paging Dr. Spacek: With Andrei Markov still recovering and out of the lineup, it will be up to Jaroslav Spacek to shoulder some of the responsibility of quarterbacking the Canadiens powerplay. But according to the defenseman’s prognosis of his Russian teammate, that shouldn’t be the case for very much longer.
“I think Markov will manage to make it back for the start of the season. He’s the kind of guy we need if we’re going to have success on the powerplay. He’s just an all-around great player and the kind of person you want as a teammate,” expressed Spacek. “I’m just glad real hockey starts tonight and I can’t wait to finally play a real game. We’ve just played against each other up until now, but that’s obviously not the same. We’re all eager to get into it with another team.”
Switching it up: After playing center for the majority of his career, Maxim Lapierre is getting used to the idea of stepping outside of the face-off circle and establishing himself as a winger. Playing right wing with linemates Jeff Halpern and Tom Pyatt, Lapierre aims to build on his best moments from the past season.
“It’s been great playing as a winger. I really started feeling comfortable there last year in the playoffs. Wherever I end up playing I’m confident I’ll be able to handle whatever I’m called on to do,” said Lapierre, who along with linemate Tom Pyatt shared the best stats among all players during team scrimmages with three points. “I want to get things started on the right foot to guarantee I don’t have another season like I did last year.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
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